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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Shell, BP Chiefs Received Richer Pay Deals for '05

Van der Veer Got
Total of $8.3 Million;
Browne's Grew 14%
By CHIP CUMMINS
March 15, 2006

LONDON — The chief executives of BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC saw their overall pay packages rise last year as higher energy prices led to a surge in industry profits.
But a series of performance stumbles by BP, the world's second-largest oil company by market capitalization, sent CEO John Browne's annual performance bonus — one component of his overall pay — tumbling 23%.
Stephen Moore, of The Journal's editorial board, and Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights President Jamie Court discuss whether oil firms are gouging Americans with high gas prices.Lord Browne took home a pay package valued at about £6.5 million ($11.3 million) last year, some 14% more than he did in 2004. BP paid Lord Browne the equivalent of £3.29 million in salary, bonus and other benefits. He was also awarded stock valued at £3.2 million as part of an executive incentive plan.
His annual bonus — based on a series of benchmarks including financial and other performance goals — was £1.75 million in 2005, down from £2.28 million in 2004.
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BP enjoyed a surge in profit last year, but a series of operational problems hurt the company, including a deadly explosion at its refinery in Texas City, Texas, and unexpected damage to its Thunder Horse oil-production platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Those setbacks affected bonus awards for Lord Browne, a company spokesman said.
No. 3 oil company Royal Dutch Shell's chief executive, Jeroen van der Veer, was paid the equivalent of about $8.3 million in cash, benefits and stock for 2005, according to the company's annual report.
Shell paid Mr. van der Veer $4.33 million in pay, bonus and other benefits last year and awarded him incentive stock valued at $3.94 million for the period. That compares with $3.29 million in pay, bonus and other benefits in 2004. Mr. van der Veer took over amid an accounting scandal at Shell in 2004, and Shell revamped its incentive share plan last year. He didn't receive any incentive shares in 2004 as part of the current plan.
The payments are large ones for European executives, and they come as lawmakers across the continent and in the U.S. scrutinize the record profits oil companies are making amid soaring energy prices. But they may prove relatively modest compared with their American peers in the oil industry, who in the past have been paid much more handsomely. Exxon Mobil Corp. former Chief Executive Lee Raymond took home a combined pay package of $38 million in 2004. Exxon, the largest oil producer by market value, has yet to disclose executive pay for last year.
Write to Chip Cummins at [email protected]

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